Monday, February 26

Google is scanning your Gmail inbox



Google and other companies store massive amounts of your personal data, some that you may not even be aware of.

In fact, Google tracks what you buy and keeps the extensive history compiled on your account. As CNBC recently discovered, a page called “Purchases” shows Google users a list of purchases they’ve made.

The list doesn’t include a complete history of what you’ve bought, though, and only includes purchases that come with a digital receipt sent to your Gmail account. Essentially, Google is mining your inbox to compile this list in one place.

For me, my Purchases page include coffees bought at shops that use Square, food delivery through Grubhub and Seamless, and orders made on Amazon. Google traces back my purchasing history back to 2013, when I was still buying singles off of iTunes.

Google did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment. However, in a statement to CNBC, a Google spokesperson said the “Purchases” page is private, and isn’t used by Google for purposes like ad targeting.

To help you easily view and keep track of your purchases, bookings and subscriptions in one place, we’ve created a private destination that can only be seen by you, the Google spokesperson told CNBC.

We don’t use any information from your Gmail messages to serve you ads, and that includes the email receipts and confirmations shown on the Purchase page.

Google also told CNBC that you can delete this information at any time. While that may be true, Google has made it incredibly difficult to erase your purchasing history. There’s no option on the Purchases page to delete your complete history at once.

Instead, Google says that you have to manually go into each purchase entry, view the emailed receipt in your inbox, and, depending on where you made the purchase, either delete the entry or delete each email.

Additionally, there’s no clear way to stop Google from maintaining this Purchases page and tracking purchases in the future.